Wilson Hey was born in Colne, Lancashire and educated at the University of Manchester. He qualified in medicine in 1905. He held house and resident appointments at MRI and served in the RAMC during the First World War. In 1914 he was appointed a honorary surgeon at MRI, a post he held until 1947. In 1919 he was appointed to the staff of the Christie Hospital and he also worked at Ancoats Hospital, Manchester Children's Hospital and Hartley Hospital, Colne. Hey lectured in clinical surgery at the University of Manchester.
Hey played a leading role in the unification of five medical societies into the Manchester Medical Society and he was the first president of the reconstituted Medical Society in 1950-1. He had previously been president of the Manchester Surgical, Pathological and Medical Societies.
Hey had an excellent reputation as a diagnostician and one was of the first to use radium in the treatment of cancer. He also did original work on peptic ulcers and later specialized in urology, where he devised a novel method of prostatectomy.
Outside medical work, Hey was known as a mountaineer, and was president of the Rucksack Club and the University of Manchester Mountaineering Club, and played an important role in the development of mountain rescue services. Hey's daughter, Dorothy, also went into medicine, qualifying at Manchester in 1942. She married Norman Arthur Lewtas (see MMC/2/Lewtas).